There are basically two options for searching in the American Song database. The Advanced Search option and the Keyword Search option (which can both work depending on the specificity that you need with the search).
Advanced Searching in the American Song database is pretty straight forward.
The most important thing is to remember to keep it simple (because not all resources are indexed equally well).
One of the useful features is the "Select Terms" feature, which is available on many of the search boxes.
This allows you to view and pick the words that are most commonly used to identify a certain subject or type or term. By using the terms that the database has chosen, you are more likely to get a more complete group of results.
The only drawback to using this feature is that sometime it is slow to display (particularly with the "People" term).
Also if you build a search that is too complex you might not get any results, even though it something probably should come up.
You can select these terms either by clicking on the "Select Terms" at the right side of the box,
Or by starting to type in a word and letting the database give you potential options... This way works really well for Personal Names.
It is a little better to look up the "Select Terms" for Genre because searching for a more generic term (like looking for "Quartets" instead of "String Quartets") may miss results that should be there.
Again, when you are doing this type of search it is best to keep it simple!
Instruments, like Genres are also best done through looking at the "Select Terms" and browsing through them to find the desired instrument.
Place of Recording, Historical Event, and Date of Recording are also fun features to use. Using the "Select Terms" feature works best with the Place of Recording and Historical Event. The Date of Recording is flexible (but for the best results needs to be not too small).
Searching by Cultural Group is great for getting music of a particular ethnic group, however it should be used with a little caution since sometimes it misses some groups...
This is another feature that works best with the "Select Terms."
Keyword searching is pretty easy in this database and rather similar to doing a google search. As with the previously mentioned searches, it is best to keep this search as simple as possible, while including words that can help specify the aspect of music that is desired.
Content compiled/Written by G. D.